From Stagg to Ferguson to Diaz, Stockton has been the birthplace and adopted home of numerous future all-stars in sports.
Stockton has been a home for many athletes throughout the years. From baseball to football, combat sports to the Olympics, our Port City has produced or guided past, present, and future gladiators that have made an impact in athletic competitions.
Fun Fact: Stockton was once the summer home of the San Francisco 49ers.
One of the first to change the game in their field was the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, who coached at the University of the Pacific and was pioneer of college football. Just recently, the Pacific opened the Stagg Memorial Football Plaza—a 9,000 sq. ft. open space designed as a gathering place for alumni and students to learn of the storied past of Pacific Football through the narratives and interactive displays.
The Pacific was also the collegiate home of two legendary coaches in the NFL. Super Bowl champion, former Raiders head coach, & recent inductee into the NFL Hall of Fame Tom Flores was a 1958 graduate of the illustrious university, back when it was called the College of the Pacific. About two decades later, the Pacific would produce another Super Bowl-winning legendary coach for the NFL: the Seattle Seahawks’ own Pete Carrol. Additionally, current Lodi High coach Greg Bishop was Stockton born and a UOP graduate. All three of these men were inducted into the Pacific’s own Hall of Fame.
The NFL’s Vice President of Officiating & Fox Sports’ Rules Analyst Mike Pereira is Stockton-born, having attended many of the Portuguese festivals in our city. Also, two-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer at the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo Cathy Ferguson was born right here in Stockton. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honor Swimmer" in 1978.
And of course, we can’t talk about athletes in Stockton and not mention the great fighting spirit that is rooted in this city. Stockton is the adopted home of legendary boxer Alvaro “Indian Yaqui” Lopez and his Fat City Boxing Club, which has provided a space for underprivileged youth to channel their energy. Two other fighters have proudly rocked their Stockton roots everywhere they go. Two brothers who dominated the octagon. The creators of the “Stockton slap.” They are former UFC fighters and MMA legends Nick and Nate Diaz—the latter of which was honored with the key to the city from Mayor Kevin Lincoln. The Diaz Brothers also provide a venue for training with the Nick Diaz Academy, a big part of Stockton's Jiu Jitsu community that teaches adults Gracie Jiu Jitsu, boxing, and wrestling as well as classes for kids.
Check out the complete list of Stocktonian athletes below. The names in bold are those who were born right here in Stockton:
Ricky Barnes (born 1981), professional golfer
Greg Bishop (born 1971), NFL offensive tackle
Dallas Braden (born 1983), MLB pitcher
Pete Carroll (born 1951), NFL coach
Erik Centeno (born 2002), soccer player for Atlanta United
Brandin Cooks (born 1993), NFL wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams
Nate Diaz (born 1985), mixed martial artist
Nick Diaz (born 1983), mixed martial artist, Former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion
Dennis Edwards (born 1959), NFL defensive end
Frederick Feary (1912–1994), boxer, 1932 U.S. Amateur champion and Olympic bronze medalist
Cathy Ferguson (born 1948), swimmer, 2-time Olympic gold medalist
Conn Findlay (1930–2021), 2-time Olympic gold medalist rower and sailor (America's Cup)
Ed Fisher (born 1949), NFL and USFL guard
Jacki Gemelos (born 1983), WNBA player
John Gianelli (born 1950), pro basketball player
Brian Goodell (born 1959), Olympic gold medalist and world record-holding swimmer
Eddie Guardado (born 1970), MLB relief pitcher
Wayne Hardin (born 1927), College Football Hall of Fame at Navy and Temple (attended and coached at University of the Pacific)
Willard Harrell (born 1952), NFL running back
Von Hayes (born 1958), MLB outfielder
J. D. Hill (born 1948), NFL wide receiver
Dan Inosanto (born 1936), martial arts instructor
Hue Jackson (born 1965), NFL coach (attended and coached at University of the Pacific)
Trumaine Johnson (born 1990), NFL cornerback
Derek Kennard (born 1962), NFL guard and center
Dean Kremer (born 1996), Israeli-American MLB starting pitcher
Mike Macfarlane (born 1964), MLB catcher
Doug Martin (born 1989), NFL running back
James Nunnally (born 1990), pro basketball player
Brian Peets (born 1956), NFL tight end
Mike Pereira (born 1950), NFL vice president of officiating, rules analyst for Fox Sports
Pete Morelli (born 1951), NFL referee
Louis Rankin (born 1985), NFL and CFL running back
Jose Rojas (born 1990), racquetball player
Webster Slaughter (born 1964), NFL wide receiver
Andre Spencer (1964–2020), basketball player
Ed Sprague Jr. (born 1967), MLB third baseman
Amos Alonzo Stagg (1862–1965), pioneer of college football, coach at University of the Pacific
Julius Thomas (born 1988), NFL tight end
Eric Williams (born 1962), NFL defensive lineman
Dolores Wilson (born 1928), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League outfielder
Jim Winn (born 1959), MLB relief pitcher
Kenny Wooten (born 1998), NBA power forward
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